A man who is good enough to shed his blood for his country is good enough to be given a square deal afterwards. More than that no man is entitled to, and less than that no man shall have… Theodore Roosevelt


The GI Bill : a new deal for veterans  Glenn C. Altschuler, Stuart M. Blumin  Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2009  Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. xi, 246 p., [8] p. of plates : ill. ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. [215]-236) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

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On rare occasions in American history, Congress enacts a measure so  far-reaching and revolutionary, it enters the language as a metaphor. Perhaps none resonates in the American imagination like the G.I. Bill.

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Historians Glenn C. Altschuler and Stuart M. Blumin offer an often surprising account of the G.I. Bill and its sweeping and decisive impact on American life. Formally known as the Serviceman’s Readjustment Act of 1944, it was far from an obvious, straightforward piece of legislation, but resulted from tense political maneuvering and complex negotiations. As Altschuler and Blumin show, an unlikely coalition emerged to shape and pass the bill, bringing together both New Deal Democrats and conservatives who had vehemently opposed Roosevelt’s social-welfare agenda. For the first time in American history returning soldiers were supported by what was essentially a social welfare program – a revolution in America’s policy towards its veterans.

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Once enacted, the G.I. Bill had far-reaching consequences. By providing job training, unemployment compensation, housing loans, and tuition assistance, it allowed millions of Americans to fulfill long-held dreams of social mobility, reshaping the national landscape. The huge influx of veterans and federal money transformed the modern university and the surge in single home ownership vastly expanded America’s suburbs. Perhaps most important, as Peter Drucker noted, the G.I. Bill “signaled the shift to the knowledge society.” The authors highlight unusual or unexpected features of the law – its color blindness, the frankly sexist thinking behind it, and its consequent influence on race and gender relations. Not least important, Altschuler and Blumin illuminate its role in individual lives whose stories they weave into this thoughtful account.

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